Third Rock (Free Project)

This project was making its way into my upcoming third book about mixed metal jewelry from metal clay, but then I realized that it’s a variation on the “Sliced Rock Dangles” project from my second book: Silver and Bronze Clay: Movement and Mechanisms, p. 21. So I decided to post it here. This time it’s called Third Rock.

This project starts after step 4 of the “Sliced Rock Dangles” project is complete. We now have a set of 3 open rock parts, which are the top, middle and bottom of a rock.

5. Create three such sets, from silver, copper, and bronze clay respectively. (All of the photos in this posting show the copper rock, except for the photo of the finished earrings, which shows all three metals.)

6. For each of these sets, lay the open side of all three rock parts on a layer of the same clay, 3 cards thick. (In other words, the three silver parts should be laid on a silver layer, the copper parts on a copper layer, and the bronze parts on a bronze layer.)

7. Cut away the excess clay from around the thirds, and dry.

8. The two end parts of each rock are now closed hollow forms. Now close each of the middle parts by placing it upside-down on another layer of the same clay (silver on silver, copper on copper, bronze on bronze), 3 cards thick.

9. Cut away the excess clay from around the part.

All three parts in each set are now closed.

10. Drill 2 holes through one of the end pieces. Repeat this step with the rest of the end pieces.

11. Drill 2 holes through the sides of all three middle pieces (silver, bronze, and copper).

This is how the parts can be assembled.

The necklace version shown at the top of this posting was assembled using beading wire and spacers. And here is the earring version:

4 Responses to “Third Rock (Free Project)”

  • Alcina Says:

    You are such a generous person. Thank you for the blog and all the information you are giving.

  • Tamara Culp Says:

    Terrific, Hadar. I love making rocks and the 3 colors will be a fun first project when I finally get around to using my bronze and copper.

  • Amy Atkinson Says:

    Hadar, I am using this project as my first attempt with your copper clay. Unfortunately, it’s not going well! I fired bronze and copper rock pieces in a 2 1/2″ tall pan in a front-loading kiln, per your instructions. The bronze pieces seem fine, but not the copper.

    I filled the pan half full with carbon, put the pieces in the back and sides, 1/2″ apart, and covered them with 1/2″ of carbon. I fired them following the instructions in the manual, but after the 2nd firing when I pulled them out the copper pieces did not look properly fired. They were dark brown and looked like the binder had not fired out. I fired them again using the 2nd firing schedule, but they crumbled in my hand when I took them out.

    Looking at your manual, it appears that something went wrong in the first firing. Should I fire them hotter than 1100 or longer than 30 minutes? Or both? I fired them high in the kiln, and as far back as the pan would go without hitting the thermacouple.

    Thanks! I really love copper, and want to succeed with it.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Hi Amy,

    There can be two reasons for this. The temperature in your kiln may be just high enough for bronze, but not for copper. If you want to test it, raise the temperature of the second phase by 100-150F. If the copper sinters and the bronze blisters, it means that your controller doesn’t display the actual temperature and you may need to replace the thermocouple.

    The other reason could be that you had too many hollow forms in the kiln. Many hollow forms mean a lot of oxygen present. I try to fire no more than 3 small hollow forms at once, together with solid forms. Big hollow forms I fill halfway with carbon.

    Why don’t you try this first, firing just 3 copper hollow pieces at the regular temperture. But make new ones, since those that you fired twice may be seriously oxidized by now.


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